One of the world’s largest aeroplanes has made its maiden touchdown at Birmingham Airport, delighting hundreds of plane spotters who had gathered to see the behemoth touch down.
An Emirates’ Airbus A380 – all 238ft of it – put wheels-down on the tarmac right on schedule for the airline’s inaugural Dubai service on Sunday.
With a capacity for 557 economy and 58 business-class passengers, the A380 will help boost the carrier’s daily capacity to the Middle East region by 15 per cent and open up new onward routes for British travellers.
As the plane came in to land, watched by a crowd of several hundred onlookers, Emirates Airlines tweeted: ‘Doesn’t she look great?’
The eye-catching plane, weighing in at more than 560 tons, replaces the carrier’s daily lunchtime service from the airport, previously run by a Boeing 777.
The giant aircraft’s arrival in Birmingham, which was recorded and uploaded to YouTube, means the UK is now serviced by 77 such flights by the UAE flag-carrier every day.
Announcing the new liner’s introduction last December, Laurie Berryman, Emirates’ vice president for the UK, said: ‘In 15 years of operating at Birmingham, Emirates has experienced exceptional levels of growth driven by an increase in demand from the Midlands. The A380 is hugely popular amongst our passengers as it provides a unique level of service that has become synonymous with the Emirates brand.We are very excited to be the first airline to introduce the iconic A380 into the region.’
Alison Gabrielle, a passenger on the inaugural flight into Birmingham, commented: ‘As a Bollywood cellist I fly to Asia and the Middle East almost on a monthly basis. I live 20 minutes from Birmingham Airport, so being able to fly on an A380 from so close to home means that I can travel in even more comfort during my work trips, which when you fly as regularly as I do means a great deal.’
Birmingham Airport built a longer runway to accommodate the new arrival, and invested £1 million in a new air bridge designed so passengers can disembark from both decks of the Airbus at the same time.